I gave up a killer 11-point autofocus, accurate aperture- and shutter-priority exposure, near-infallible matrix metering, through-the-lens flash, Nikon’s famed creative lighting system, auto-ISO....in favour of a purely mechanical camera that merely opens and closes the shutter when I tell it to, nothing more....I withdrew from Flickr. I gave up the confidence I had built in the camera...and transferred the responsibility for technically competent shots from the near infallible machine to the very fallible me. Why did I do these things?
I am not being nostalgic. I am not longing after an idyllic past....Nor am I preoccupied by technical comparisons of film to digital. Fanatical ravings about resolution, colour gamut, dynamic range, etc., are a distracting sideshow that threatens to hide the obvious truth, which is that digital technology has irrevocably altered the photographer’s relationship to his craft, and society’s relationship to photographs, photography, and photographers.
And, in many respects, this change has been a grievous injury to everyone.
The medium is the message. And the message of the digital image is that it is not worth anything. This is not a good starting point for anyone venturing seriously into photography.
Think that this doesn’t apply to you? Then ask yourself these questions: How many images have you deleted directly from your camera before even transferring them to your computer? Are all of your digital images backed-up? How much are you willing to pay for this backup on a per images basis, or to transfer your digital images to print? Does the capacity of everyone everywhere to make limitless perfect copies of any one of your images raise or lower their value? Does your own capacity to make thousands of images essentially without cost make you a more or less careful photographer?
When I consider my own responses to these questions, and any like them you may care to pose, I am not filled with optimism about the medium.